Prevention of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Study of PTSD Shows that it May be Possible to Prevent Before Onset

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is related to anxiety triggered by extreme trauma. PTSD is an affliction related to war veterans but can strike anyone at any time.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is an anxiety-related disorder that is triggered by extreme trauma, either in people who experience a trauma or see a traumatic event happen to another person. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is an affliction that can strike anyone at any time. PTSD is often associated with war veterans, but the disorder can hit anyone who is exposed to trauma or violence.

Post Traumatic Stress Strikes People who Have Experienced Trauma

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a condition that affects as many as one in five of all Americans who are survivors of harrowing experiences. People who have traumatic experiences, such as rape, assault, terrorism or war, can be emotionally paralyzed by the experience.

PTSD can have a profound effect upon the person who suffers from the disorder. Symptoms of PTSD usually begin within three months of a traumatic event. Some symptoms include flashbacks, shame, guilt, bad dreams, feeling emotionally numb, irritability, anger, poor relationships, self destructive behavior, hopeless feelings, trouble sleeping, memory problems, trouble concentrating, easily startled or frightened, lack of enjoyment and hallucinations.

PTSD can be treated with psychotherapy and medications. Some of the types of therapy used for PTSD include cognitive therapy, cognitive behavior therapy and exposure therapy.

Researchers Exploring Preventative Measures

Researchers are now exploring methods of preventing PTSD from occurring instead of treating the disorder after it has occurred.

Currently there is no treatment that can lower the chance of getting PTSD but a researcher from Tel Aviv University is looking for a means of preventing the disorder.

Professor Joseph Zohar from the Sackler Medical School, Tel Aviv University, has discovered that an injection of cortisol shortly after being exposed to a trauma may prevent PTSD. He hopes to start clinical trials on this exploratory research within the next year.

The research was recently published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

Researcher Statements

A diagnosis of PTSD is not made until a person has been living with acute stress reaction for one month. By the time the condition is diagnosed it may be too late to counteract the damaging symptoms.

According to a statement Professor Zohar made in a press release, “Ten to twenty percent of all individuals exposed to trauma develop PTSD. The challenge is to try to prevent or reduce these numbers.”

Professor Zohar went on to say that up until now the focus has been upon treating PTSD once it developed. The goal now is to shift the focus to prevention. Research findings have paved the way for preventive treatment via cortisol injections.

PTSD is often experienced among soldiers who have returned from wars, such as Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Anyone who has witnessed or experienced a life threatening event can be stricken with the disorder.

People with PTSD may relive the traumatic event with exposed to everyday triggers, such as a sound on television or the smell of a neighbor’s barbecue.

According to researchers, the production of the stress hormone, cortisol, increased immediately after trauma. With time the cortisol level returns to normal.

In people with PTSD, the body’s hormonal system dysfunctions, causing a lower secretion of cortisol after being exposed to trauma. Researchers believe that the underproduction of cortisol increases a person’s vulnerability to PTSD. According to researchers, cortisol may be related to the person’s ability to forget memories of the trauma.

PTSD is a disorder that can have a severe negative effect upon the life of a person. Finding a preventative measure could save the quality of life for many victims of trauma.

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What Is Life? The Seven Characteristics of Life

Biologists have identified seven characteristics that all organisms share.

There are characteristics that all living organisms share. While it may seem obvious that a rock is not alive and a person is, there are questions regarding other things, such as viruses. The following are seven characteristics that are used to define life.

Cells and Organization

Cells are the basic unit of life. The smallest organism consists of one cell. Within that cell is the cellular equivalent of organs, called organelles. Organelles are made of molecules or macromolecules such as carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids. These organelles serve different functions including transferring ribonucleic acid (RNA), making adenosine triphosphate (ATP) for energy, or transferring molecules in and out of the cell.

Similar cells combine to form tissues, such as the pericardium, the membrane around the heart. Tissues give rise to organs, like the liver, heart, or skin. Unlike the single-celled organism, complex organisms consist of a combination of cells, tissues, and organs.

Metabolism

Organisms must acquire and use energy in order to maintain their complex, living systems. Cells metabolize molecules, such as nutrients, to produce energy and use it for other processes, like replicating deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).

Some organisms, including plants and some bacteria, can convert light energy to produce nutrients. This is called photosynthesis. Other organisms, such as animals, must consume other organisms to meet their energy needs.

Environmental Adaptation

Organisms must be able to adapt to their changing environments. For example, during the season when the sun is directly overhead, plants will grow upward, but they will grow more toward the side during those seasons when the sun is lower in the sky. Horses shed their coats in the spring and summer to allow for easier cooling during the warmer weather. They acquire a thick coat for the winter months when it is necessary to keep warm air close to the skin.

Homeostasis

Organisms must maintain an internal environment that is conducive to cell metabolism. For example, humans must maintain a specific body temperature. When they are cold, they will shiver, a response that causes the muscles to produce more heat. When they are too warm, the body will produce sweat which carries heat away from the body when it evaporates. The degree to which this must be done varies among organisms.

Growth and Development

All organisms undergo a process of growth and development. Single-celled organisms start as smaller cells that grow. The contents of the cell may become more diverse and complex. More complex organisms, such as humans, start out as a single cell that divides to create more cells. These new cells differentiate to develop into specialized cells that form different tissues and organs.

Reproduction

All living organisms have DNA, which is genetic material containing the information and instructions for forming an organism. All organisms die, and must be able to pass this genetic material on to create more organisms. This is done through reproduction. Single-celled organisms may divide in half and grow. Other organisms reproduce sexually, a process that requires another organism with which to share its DNA.

Evolution

The book, Biology, by Robert J. Brooker, et al., defines biological evolution as “the phenomenon that populations of organisms change over the course of many generations.” This can include the beak length and shape of a particular species of bird that is better suited to acquiring certain kinds of food in a particular environment.

Living organisms share these seven characteristics, but that does not make them the same. The ability of the individual to adapt and the population to evolve allows for the diverse number of species throughout the world. This diversity allows organisms to live within the various environments of the earth.

Comparing Drug Prices: Finding the Cheapest Drugs Available

With health care costs on the rise, it is important to do some comparison shopping for your medications.

Drug companies are notorious for over-pricing their products, but there are some things you can do to reduce the amount of money you spend monthly on drugs. Some large chains are beginning to offer reduced rates on hundreds of generic drugs. Before you go to your local pharmacy, you might want to check around and see if your medications are on the list of discount drugs.

Wal Mart launched a program which offers hundreds of generic drugs for the low cost of $4.00 per month. You can go to their website to view a list of exactly which drugs are on the list. You can purchase these drugs even if you have no insurance. If your medications are not available for $4.00, you can print out the list and take it to your doctor to find out if any of the drugs you are taking could be appropriately switched for one on the list. Using drugs that are found on this list could save your family thousands of dollars per year and remove a large part of the financial strain caused by expensive health care.

Walgreens is another national chain that is working to lower the costs of drugs in the United States. If you join their Walgreens Prescription Savings Club, you can get over 400 generic drugs for less than $1.00 a week. If they offer the medications that you need, you can get a 90 day supply for only $12.00.

If the drugs you need are not on these lists and your doctor has advised you against changing medications, you should use the internet to find the cheapest outlets to buy your medicaitons. Sites such as Shopzilla and PharmacyChecker will let you search for the drugs you take and will present you with a list of where you can buy them and their cost at each location. Using tools such as these will help you to find your medications at the lowest price possible.

Sometimes it is possible to find your medications at a lower cost if you order them from a pharmacy in Canada, instead of purchasing them in the United States. Canadian pharmacies generally have lower prices than those inside the U.S. and many of them have websites that you can order from. If you are planning on buying your drugs from Canada, make sure that you order in plenty of time, up to a month before you run out of your prescription. Shipping and handling may take a while, and you don’t want to risk running out of your medication.

About Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning

Amnesic shellfish poisoning, also known as ASP, is a rare disease caused by demoic acid that is usually found in razor clams, mussels and dungeness crab but it can be found in other shellfish as well. It is caused by a reddish brown plant that is found in saltwater. On the plant is a diatom called Nitzchia pungens. The toxins from this plant contaminate the shellfish in high doses, and when consumed by humans it can cause serious problems.

ASP was first discovered in 1987. Four people died in Canada after eating shellfish and many others got sick, some of which developed forms of amnesia. In the early 1990’s pelicans on California’s coast near Monterey became crazed and when tested were found to have large amounts of demoic acid in their system. ASP is one of four shellfish syndromes. The other three are Paralytic, Neurologic and Diarrheal.

What Are Diatoms and Domoic Acid?

Diatoms are unicellular organisms that are often found attached to filamentous algae. There are two major groups of diatoms, pennates and centric. Pennates are pen shaped diatoms and centric diatoms are cylinder shaped. Pennates are most likely to be found in freshwater, while the centric can usually be found in marine water. They are basically the brown slimy stuff found on rocks, wood, seaweed etc… that shellfish feed off of.

Domoic acid is a neurotoxin that naturally occurs in marine life and is found in diatoms. The condition caused by this disease is also sometimes called domoic acid poisoning or DAP. DAP can affect all mammals. Domoic acid has been found on the East coast, West coast and in the Gulf of Mexico.

Cause, Symptoms and Treatment of ASP

Shellfish eat the diatoms and during the filtering process retain some of the demoic acid. When there are large levels of algae in the water, shellfish secret less of the toxins, therefore making them more toxic. When humans consume the infected shellfish they get sick. This is a very rare disease, but it can cause:

  • Diarrhea
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Heart palpitations
  • Severe headaches
  • Permanent short-term memory loss
  • Coma
  • Death

Symptoms usually occur within 24 hours of consumption of infected shellfish. There is no antidote for demoic acid. Patients that develop symptoms after eating shellfish should seek medical attention immediately even though there is very little that can be done.

There is no way to tell if the shellfish is infected with demoic acid. There is no taste or odor associated with the contaminated seafood. State departments of health issue warning when unsafe levels of marine toxins have been found. ASP is usually present in late summer and early fall making that the best time to avoid shellfish consumption if there has been a large algae bloom on the coast.

The Eustachian Tubes: Maintaining Pressure in the Ear

Eustachian tubes, which are also sometimes known as the auditory or pharyngotympanic tubes, are small cartilage and bone canals. The canals connect the middle ear, which is an air-filled cavity in the internal structure of the ear, and the nasopharynx, the lower nasal cavity behind the mouth. This connection allows air movement into and out of the ear, maintaining the pressure inside the ear canal at the external atmospheric pressure.

Ear Pressure and Hearing

The function of the ear is to hear by converting sound waves to electrical impulses. Sound waves travel through the air and into the ear canal, where they proceed through the middle ear to vibrate the eardrum on the far end. The sound waves are then transmitted to the bones and structures of the inner ear, which are then responsible for transmitting the signals to the brain. Maintaining atmospheric pressure within the middle ear allows the sound waves to proceed unchanged.

Eustachian Tubes and Altitude

When the atmospheric pressure changes, there is sometimes a sensation in the ear as the pressure within the Eustachian tubes adjusts. When driving up a mountain or flying in an airplane, a popping sensation is often felt, hearing is impaired for a short period of time, or a popping sound is heard as the pressure adjusts. Swallowing, chewing, or yawning pulls on the neck muscles and can help the Eustachian tubes open, releasing the pressure in the ears.

Ear Drainage and the Nasal Cavity

The Eustachian tubes also allow mucus produced by the lining of the middle ear to drain. The mucus drains from the ear to the nasopharynx and then to the stomach, similar to the sinuses. The mucus is present to protect the ear from foreign material, similar to mucus in the nose and throat. Drainage prevents the ear from becoming clogged with this helpful material, which can affect hearing and increase the risk of ear infections.

In the case of respiratory illness, material can make its way from the nasal cavity to the ear through the auditory tubes. Blockage of the tube or tubes from a throat infection can result in an ear ache and potential spread of the infection to the inner ear.

Eustachian Tube Problems in Children

Children often have a more horizontally placed tube and may experience blocked drainage due to the anatomic position, resulting in a greater occurrence of ear infections. Doctors sometimes insert synthetic tubes to help keep the auditory tubes open and facilitate appropriate air and fluid exchange.

What Eustachian Tubes Do Not Do

The Eustachian tubes do not maintain balance per se; this is accomplished by hair cells in the inner ear. The pressure in the ear, though, can affect the function of the ear structures, so the auditory tubes play a role in maintaining the integrity of the system that maintains balance. Ear infections are known to affect equilibrium because of their clogging effect in the ear.

Similarly, swimmer’s ear is mistakenly attributed to problems with the Eustachian tubes. Water can become trapped in the ear canal and lead to an ear ache and dulled hearing, followed by inflammation and infection. The blockage prevents proper air movement to the ear drum, but is not a clogging of the auditory tubes.

A List of Marine Reptiles: Ocean Animals Include Crocodiles, Iguanas, and Snakes

Learn about marine iguanas in the Galapagos, tropical venomous seas snakes, the deadly salt water crocodile, and endangered sea turtles.

Asked to imagine a reptile and most people will think of lizards sunning in the desert, snakes slithering through the jungle, or geckos skittering in the corners of a human home. However, many reptiles spend their days gliding through tropical waters and migrating throughout the world’s oceans. A list of marine reptiles includes crocodiles, iguanas, snakes, and turtles.

Sea Turtles Come in Many Sizes

Sea turtles are one of the oldest species still alive today with fossils dating back 150 million years – meaning sea turtles roamed the Earth along with dinosaurs. Today there are seven recognized species of sea turtle and the Caribbean Conservation Corporation describes each species in detail. These marine reptiles come in a variety of sizes with the olive ridley weighing less than 100 pounds and the leatherback reaching 1,300 pounds. Sea turtles can travel thousands of miles in a lifetime migrating from their feeding grounds to their nesting beaches. Unfortunately, all seven species of this marine reptile are now endangered due to human poaching, destruction of habitat, and pollution.

Marine Iguanas of the Galapagos

The marine iguana (Amblyrhyncus cristatus) is endemic to the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador. As the National Geographic describes in its “Marine Iguana Profile” scientists believe that land dwelling iguanas from South America floated on logs millions of years ago to the Galapagos. These scary looking herbivores can grow up to five feet long and use their sharp teeth to scrape algae off of rocks. Cornell University describes in “Marine Iguanas” how these creatures can dive for an hour at a time although they usually remain submerged for 5 to 10 minutes. Unfortunately, human-introduced predators such as rats and dogs are threatening these fascinating creatures. The marine iguana is considered vulnerable to extinction.

Sea Snakes are a Highly Poisonous Marine Reptile

Sea snakes can be found throughout the tropical waters of the world from Africa to Southeast Asia to Panama. According to an August 2015 Science Daily article “Venomous Sea Snakes Play Heads or Tails with Predators” there are over 65 species in the ocean and all are highly poisonous. Sea snakes have one of the most toxic venoms known in all snake species. Active predators, the sea snake diet consists mostly of small fish found on coral reefs. Many species spend their entire lives at sea, although they tend to be found in shallow waters.

The Dangerous Saltwater Crocodile

Some say the saltwater crocodile is the animal most likely to eat a human, according to the National Geographic’s “Saltwater Crocodile Profile”. Living around Southeast Asia and the northern coastlines of Australia this marine reptile can reach 23 feet long and 2,200 pounds. It is the largest crocodilian in the world. Although they can swim far out to sea to feast on sharks, their prey mostly includes land-dwelling monkeys, boars, and wild buffalo. They are considered at a low risk for extinction however hunting and habitat loss has put pressure on their populations.

Protecting Marine Reptiles

Humans have put pressure on the populations of many marine reptile species. Hunting, habitat destruction, and pollution are pushing sea turtles and marine iguanas ever closer to extinction. Although the saltwater crocodile is considered safe at the moment the tide may turn if hunting and habitat loss continue. Although reptiles may not be as charismatic as pandas or tigers, they too deserve respect and have a right to exist in their homes.

Will Polio Be Eradicated?

Polio? What is polio? The only time the majority of people in our world encounter that name is when a physician encourages us to have our children immunized against polio. Polio or poliomyelitis is disease caused by a virus called the polio virus. The virus initially infects either the mouth or the intestines then gets into the bloodstream where it is carried to the spinal cord. Once in the spinal cord the virus reproduces causing damage to the nerves. In severe cases of poliomyelitis the patient becomes paralyzed. The polio virus is highly infectious and can be transmitted person-to-person by a fecal-oral route. There are three different types (P1, P2, and P3) of the polio virus that cause poliomyelitis and a person could theoretically have polio three different times since infection with one type of the virus does not protect against infection with the other types of the virus.

A fecal-oral route of transmission is a transmission route in which infected feces (excrement, bowel movement) from one person ends up in the mouth of an uninfected person. Many people do not wash their hands after using the restroom. After changing a diaper some people forget or are distracted and do not wash their hands.

Even though polio is rare today it was at one time a very common disease. Over 13,000 people each year developed the paralyzing form of polio in the United States during the 1940’s. Most of those with paralytic polio were children. Fortunately, even in that time, less than one in 100 people infected with polio developed paralysis. Most (95%) of the people infected with polio did not have any symptoms. Around 4-8% of people infected with polio had flu-like symptoms. Another 1-2% developed an infection of the membranes surrounding the brain (aseptic meningitis). All of those with flu-like symptoms got over the infection with no long-term problems and nearly every one that got aseptic meningitis were fine in 2 to 10 days. The major problems were associated with those that developed paralytic polio. Many people with paralytic polio got better and their muscles started functioning again. However, there were those every year that did not get better and were either paralyzed for life usually on one side or in some cases died. In the temperate regions of the world, summer was a common time to get polio and many parents kept their children at home in hopes of keeping them safe from polio.

It wasn’t until the mid 1950’s that the vaccine developed by Jonas Salk started to drastically reduce the number of polio victims in the world. Another vaccine developed by Albert Sabin (introduced in 1961) continued the decline in